Cars > Tech

Your future Volkswagen will come with ChatGPT

AI is the star of the German brand’s show at CES 2024

Is AI something you would want in your car? PHOTO FROM VOLKSWAGEN

Artificial intelligence is without a doubt the hottest tech topic of today, and in this field, few things are talked about more than ChatGPT. The chatbot created by American firm OpenAI has gripped public attention and transformed everything from how students are doing their homework to the way computer coding is done.

Now, it will also find its way into your car, providing you are driving a Volkswagen. The German firm has just announced the addition of the Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) to some of its future ID models.

The ID.7 is Volkswagen's long-range electric sedan. PHOTOS FROM VOLKSWAGEN

During this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), VW announced that it would integrate ChatGPT into its IDA voice assistant system for future ID.7, ID.4, ID.5, ID.3, Tiguan, Passat, and Golf models. The digital helper will be voice-activated and will work in conjunction with the car’s voice assistant.

Passengers will be able to control everything from the infotainment system to navigation and climate controls just by talking to the car, and any questions that exceed what the vehicle’s own program can handle are automatically sent to ChatGPT to be answered. This could be general-knowledge questions or more specific queries about the vehicle and many other topics.

The face-lifted Golf GTI was previewed at CES. PHOTOS FROM VOLKSWAGEN

The carmaker promises that all of this can be done in natural and intuitive language, which will be crucial for the setup to work. After all, nobody likes ropy voice-activated systems that fail to understand what the human behind the wheel is trying to say.

VW is also addressing privacy concerns that may come with the use of this new feature. The firm is keen to point out that all data is sent to the AI anonymously, and that ChatGPT does not have access to any vehicle data. Questions and answers are also deleted immediately after to ensure sufficient levels of data protection.

Will it be a good thing when the car becomes smarter than the driver? PHOTO FROM VOLKSWAGEN

To do all this, Volkswagen is using Cerence Chat Pro, a third-party solution designed to make the integration of ChatGPT into automotive environments easier. This customizable tool will enable the interaction between passengers and AI, and at least some cars already on the road can be updated with it via software download.

Everyone else will be able to enjoy these new features in future models, and it seems the way we are using our cars keeps evolving. Now, who wants to be the first to ask the AI: “Are we there yet?”

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.